March 25, 2015

RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Supervisors vote to lift sex offender residency restrictions

3-25-15 California:

The move complies with a recent state Supreme Court ruling that said blanket residency restrictions violated offenders’ constitutional rights.

Forced to repeal restrictions on where sex offenders can live, Riverside County Supervisors on Tuesday, March 24, began work on a new ordinance that would comply with a recent court ruling.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to introduce an ordinance to do away with the restrictions, which applied to the county’s unincorporated communities. Final votes on the ordinance will occur in the coming weeks.

The repeal is in response to a ruling earlier this month by the California Supreme Court. Justices ruled that blanket residency restrictions violated sex offenders’ constitutional rights by limiting their access to housing, boosting their chances of becoming homeless and restricting their access to services such as counseling.

Critics contend the ruling endangers children and goes against the will of the people.

Jessica’s Law, passed by California voters in 2006, imposed a number of restrictions on sex offenders, including a ban on living within 2,000 feet of schools and parks.

The county risked being sued unless it repealed its restrictions. Last summer, another court ruling led to supervisors voting to lift restrictions on offenders entering schools and parks without prior written permission.

Despite the loss of blanket restrictions, County Counsel Greg Priamosnoted that residency restrictions on individual sex offenders still can be imposed if warranted.

A number of rules governing offenders remain in place, Priamos said, including:

• A lifetime duty to register with local law enforcement.

• A ban against entering a school without “lawful business” and the school’s written permission.

• A restriction on going to a park where children gather without a parole agent’s permission if the offender’s victim was under age 14.

• A ban against working with or volunteering with children if the victim was 16 years old or younger.
..Source.. by JEFF HORSEMAN

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